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Panel to question Montana secretary of state's spending

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Sec. of State Corey Stapleton Sec. of State Corey Stapleton

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The head of the Montana legislative committee is asking Secretary of State Corey Stapleton to answer questions about his office's spending.

State Administration and Veterans' Affairs Interim Committee chairwoman Sue Malek, a Democrat, requested that Stapleton, a Republican, appear before the panel on Nov. 13.

Malek wrote Stapleton a letter Thursday that says she wants him to address two contracts awarded by his office.

The first is a $265,000 printing contract to a longtime Stapleton ally, GOP consultant Jake Eaton, to fix errors contained in the state voter information pamphlet.

The second is the $60,000 it cost to hire Eaton's wife, Billings attorney Emily Jones, to represent Stapleton's office in a ballot access lawsuit earlier this year.

Stapleton and his staff have said the contracts were necessary and justified.

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